Did you know that you can print with flame-retardant 3D filament? This quality is a valuable one—here is what you need to know when it comes to the types of 3D filaments that are flame retardant.
Why Are Flame-Retardant Materials Important?
Some 3D printing applications require flame-resistant materials. They’re more thermally stable than other materials, which means they’re less likely to catch fire or burn. These materials are appropriate for end-use parts, replacement parts, tools, and fixtures that may be exposed to combustion. There are several options to pick from, each with its own advantages.
Additives for Flame Retardancy
Some materials are flame resistant by nature. Thermally stable polymers, on the other hand, may limit print performance and are also expensive and complex to produce. This is why you’ll find flame-retardant chemicals in materials—they delay the pace of combustion, reduce smoke, and prevent dripping.
UL 94, the Standard for Safety of Flammability of Plastic Materials for Parts in Devices and Appliances, helps certify flame retardancy. In essence, it determines which types of 3D filaments are flame retardant. Underwriters Laboratories in the United States published this flammability standard. The following certifications are listed in order of increasing retardance:
- HB: Slow burning on a horizontal specimen; burning rate 76 mm/min for thickness 3 mm or before 100 mm.
- V-2: On a vertical specimen, burning must end within 30 seconds; blazing particle drips are permitted.
- V-1: On a vertical specimen, burning ceases in 30 seconds; drips of particles are allowed as long as they are not inflamed.
- V-0: On a vertical specimen, burning stops in 10 seconds; drips of particles are allowed as long as they are not inflamed.
- 5VB: On a vertical specimen, the burning must end within 60 seconds; no drips are permitted; plaque specimens may develop a hole.
- 5VA: On a vertical specimen, the burning must end within 60 seconds; no drips are permitted; plaque specimens must not develop a hole.
Looking for these designations is one of the best ways to determine which filaments are flame retardant. Run a few tests and determine the best fire retardant filament for yourself!